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AIDS Care. 2007 Mar;19(3):403-9.

Responsibility as a dimension of HIV prevention normative beliefs: measurement in three drug-using samples.

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Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, School of Public Health, University of Texas-Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX 77225, USA.


The concept of responsibility was derived originally from principles of morality, as part of a network of rights, duties and obligations. HIV risk-related studies have suggested that a sense of responsibility for condom use to protect a partner is a potentially important predictor of condom use in drug-using populations. We created a four-item scale measuring Self responsibility to use condoms and Partner's responsibility to use condoms. Data were collected from three drug-using samples: crack smokers, HIV seropositive crack smokers in an intervention study in Houston, Texas, and Tanzanian heroin users in Dar es Salaam. Data indicated that the four responsibility items had high alpha coefficients in each sample, and that there were moderate to high intercorrelations between equivalent self and partner responsibility items. There were significant differences in scale scores between the crack smokers and the HIV positive crack smokers and the Tanzanian samples, but no significant differences between the HIV positive and Tanzanian samples. Comparing within the first crack-smoker sample those who were HIV positive and negative showed significant differences in the direction of higher beliefs in responsibility to use condoms in the HIV positive group. These data suggest that responsibility is measurable, holds similar psychometric properties across three samples differing in culture and HIV serostatus, and that condom use responsibility is conceptualized as a measure of general responsibility rather than as a reciprocal self/partner responsibility.

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